Mindful eating requires practice just like anything else. If you have never used mindful eating during meal time, now is a great time to start. By teaching yourself how to connect with your emotions you are creating a healthier, more aware eater. Associating with your feelings will make you less likely to eat for the wrong reasons. When we do not put any thought into our food, we often overeat because we are distracted or emotional and need comfort. These situations are just a few examples of how being aware of what you eat can increase your spiritual connection with yourself while decreasing your risk for serious chronic diseases, such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
To practice your mindful eating technique, try the following exercise…
1. Choose a small piece of food, such as almond, a slice of fruit, or a portion of chocolate.
2. Examine your food. Notice the color, shape, and texture. Is your food fresh? How does it compare to other foods just like it? Be sure to take in what you are about to eat with all of your senses.
3. Smell the food and think about how the fragrance makes you feel. Maybe it reminds you of a particular memory or the last time you ate this specific food.
4. Taste the food. Put it on your tongue but do not take a bite just yet. Notice the response of your salivary glands.
5. Take a bite of the food but do not consume the whole amount. Notice the taste and how the texture feels on your tongue.
6. Chew the food. This is an essential step because most of the time we do not chew our food long enough. While eating, think about how the food taste, what sound it makes while you chew, and how the taste changes.
7. When ready to swallow the food, take time to notice the feeling you get when the food travels down your throat to your stomach.
8. Say the name of the food out loud. Acknowledge the food and appreciate it. Think about where it came from and how it got to you. Think about the ingredients in the food and the effort put into either making it or growing it. Say a few words out loud about how the food made you feel. Notice any emotions that coincide with the food you just ate and think about how these emotions may affect your eating of this food in the future.
Finally, practice taking one mindful eating bite of your food at each meal. Dedicate one bite per meal to the steps taken in this exercise. Gradually increase this process, and soon you will be eating full meals mindfully.